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Can we call someone X太太 ? or is it the calling of husband to his wife? In my textbook everybody calls one women 錢太太. But my teacher said it is unsuitable. Which one is correct?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 1 down vote accepted

(After further thought, I feel the usage of "太太" is more complicated than my original thought. To avoid misguide others, I decide to delete my answer.)

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2  
absolutely wrong. "张三的老婆" is not a polite (not even appropriate imho) way to refer to someone's wife. It is just like calling someone "wife of Smith" instead of "Mrs. Smith". I know daily use chinese language in mainland lost a lot related to proper manner, but "X太太" is doubtless something widely used in other chinese communities, Taiwan and Hong Kong for example. –  Adrian Shum Apr 24 at 8:04
    
@AdrianShum I don't see your comments disagree with my answer too much. I emphasized twice my answer is only applicable to mainland. And I also mentioned ”张三的老婆” may not be elegant but you have no other real choices (BTW it's acceptable in many scenarios) –  xiaobai Apr 24 at 17:04
    
@Gereltumen Please note that this answer is withdrawn by the OP. You can undo the accept of this answer and accept another one. This won't hurt your reputation. You'll get (-2) first and then +2 again. –  scaaahu Apr 26 at 7:17

In fact, you can call any women who has been married with "X太太", it shows lots of respectation and manner. However, if you call your wife, usually we don't use X太太, it will make your wife unwell, just like a stranger.

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It is absolutely OK to call someone's wife "X太太", alternatively, you can use "X夫人", which, in my opinion, is more polite and respectful(unnecessary in causal occasions, but often used in business and diplomacy occasions).

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I am a native speaker born and living in northern China. In my experience of life, calling someone X太太 only appears in some old literatures (or maybe I am just too young and naive :) ).

There are many differences in the calling conventions of one's wife in China. As far as I know, people tend to say “我媳妇” in northern China while “我老婆” in southern China (both are called only by the husband or very good friends). They are not Honorifics.

If you meet a couple for the first time, you can say 嫂子 in northern China.

If you meet a stranger, you can say X女士. This is also can be used in written language.

If you a among young people, never say X太太 or 太太. This makes others think you are too old-fashioned.

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You can use 太太 in this way:

Most Ch-En

Define it as:

Mrs.; madame

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Yes, it is suitable and respectful that we call someone X太太 (usually last name+太太), but in a condition that we know for sure that she is "MARRIED", otherwise it will be unsuitable!

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Actually, the husband may call his wife 太太 but not with the surname.

As you are not the husband of this lady, you can call her surname + 太太. Even you can use 这位太太 (this lady) but never use 太太 lonely, or you may be get beaten from her husband lol.

But using surname + 太太 is not so good in Chinese culture because the lady will NOT change the surname after marriage. It's complicated to choose the right surname before 太太, from her original one, or her husband's.

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